Trademark & Design Renewals

What is the difference between an unknown and a well known trademark?

Whether you are looking to register a new trademark and want to ensure its success, or whether you want to know ways to improve the popularity of your existing trademark, knowing what makes the difference between an unknown and a well known trademark can prove beneficial to securing the success of your own.

It is therefore highly desirable to achieve popularity with your trademark, as popularity amongst consumers equates to profit.

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There are two key stages in making a successful trademark; when registering the trademark itself and in its latter management. The differences between an unknown and a well known trademark lie in how well owners made the most of their opportunities at these two stages.


Registering the trademark

With regards to ensuring that the trademark itself is as successful as possible it is important to bear in mind the central purpose of a trademark – to distinguish your goods from the goods of your competitors. The importance of this purpose is reflected in the requirement that a mark is not permitted to be registered as a trademark if it is not distinctive in this way.

The success of a trademark is tied inextricably to this inherent purpose – a mark which is more distinctive and able to distinguish the goods of its owner from the goods of their competitors is far more likely to be successful and therefore well known.

For example, a descriptive word mark is far less distinctive than a colourful graphic mark, as evidenced in the fact that an online image search of well known trademarks returns a page full of bright colours and eye-catching shapes. Incredibly few famous trademarks rely on a word alone, as distinctive graphic marks can be seen to be far more successful in fulfilling the inherent function of a trademark.

Ensuring that you register a trademark which is as distinctive as possible will serve to maximise your brands potential for popularity.

In addition, the goods or services against which your trademark is registered can have an immense impact on the popularity of your mark. The goods or services against which your registered mark can be used – categorised under Nice classes – can increase consumer knowledge of your mark the more it is used.

Using your mark for different goods within similar classes can help to build your brand and customer base. Expanding your mark by applying it to goods or services in different sectors can provide the opportunity for your business to branch out to new areas of the market – thereby increasing your potential for popularity and profit. Regardless of whether you register your mark against a cluster of similar classes or in a variety of different ones, choosing to register your mark for multiple classes of goods can only serve to benefit its popularity.

If you are in any doubt as to how to register a trademark so that it is as successful as possible then you should seek the advice of an independent IP expert who can advise you on the best characteristics and Nice classifications for your mark.


Managing the trademark

Once your trademark is registered there is still work which can be done to transform your mark into a well known trademark. The correct management of your trademark portfolio can ensure that your mark becomes well known in the eyes of consumers.

It is strongly advised that you seek the advice and support of IP experts in the management of IP portfolios when looking to improve your brands popularity. Hiring professionals with expertise in the management of trademarks can only prove beneficial to your brand.

Such professionals can orchestrate license agreements with third parties which can prove beneficial to your trademark and business, as licensing your mark can also lead it to becoming more widely known amongst consumers.

Additionally, professionals can file to register your mark against more classes – either along with the renewal or as an additional registration. This means that your mark can be registered against more types of goods or services, therefore branching out into different sectors and improving consumer knowledge of your brand.

The differences between an unknown and a well known trademark can be seen to lie in the management of the marks at these two key stages – at the initial registration and in later management. Working to maximise your trademark’s potential at these stages will definitely lead to benefits later on, however, the importance of the support of IP experts and professionals in these key stages cannot be overstated.

What is the difference between an unknown and a well known trademark?